Turkish intel detects possible signal from Austrian ‘jihad girls’

Turkish intel detects possible signal from Austrian ‘jihad girls’

Uğur Ergan - ANKARA
Turkish intel detects possible signal from Austrian ‘jihad girls’

Interpol published two photos of Sabine Selimovic on its website

Turkish intelligence has detected a signal, possibly coming from the cellphone of one of two Austrian teenage girls who some believe were tricked into going to Syria to fight for Islamist rebels.

Interpol put out missing-person notices for Austrian-born Samra Kesinovic, 16, and Sabina Selimovic, 15, who disappeared from their homes in Vienna on April 10. 

Their parents, Bosnian refugees who came to Austria in the 1990s, told the Bosnian newspaper Dnevni Avaz that they learned their girls had boarded a flight from Vienna to Adana, not far from the Syrian border. They also said they found letters hidden in the teenagers’ schoolbooks saying they had “chosen the right path” and were going to “go fight for Islam in Syria.”

Although several websites related to various Syrian groups claim that the girls joined “jihadists,” some of the photographs allegedly showing the two in Islamic attire appear to have been doctored.

As the families believe that their daughters are in Istanbul, Turkish intelligence has tried to collect signals from the girl’s cellphones, although the devices had reportedly been switched off. Thanks to more advanced techniques, however, intelligence officials managed to collect a signal, possibly coming from one of the cellphones, although it is still off.

A Turkish official told daily Hürriyet that the signal was coming from an area in northern Syria that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) controls. “If al-Qaeda in Syria has them, we don’t think that they’ll keep them in the same place for a long time, considering international attention is focused on the girls,” the official said.